Russia’s defense minister instructed military units in Ukraine to “further intensify” combat activity at a time the arrival of advanced Western weapons is boosting Kyiv’s counterattack capabilities. Russian airstrikes continued in north, south and central areas, often far from the front lines and focused on civilian targets. Multiple fatalities were reported.
The US State Department said it supports selling a total of $1.45 billion in weapons to NATO allies Estonia and Norway. Ukraine’s defense minister earlier said the first M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System arrived in the country and would bolster the country’s ability to hit long-range targets.
Russia plans to reject requests from foreign banks to sell their units in the country while sanctioned Russian banks are unable to sell their business abroad. And President Vladimir Putin ousted his top defense-industry official as Russia digs in for a long war.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
Almost five months into the war, Moscow’s forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets in the past week. Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s ministry of defense, said 70% of Russia’s strikes hit residential areas. An agricultural enterprise in the Cherkasy region was hit by missiles Saturday fired from Caspian Sea, Governor Ihor Taburets said on Telegram. Missiles hit the industrial city of Dnipro on Friday night, regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said. At least three people were killed and 16 wounded after rockets hit an industrial company, he said. Russia also fired at the port city of Odesa, at Nikopol, south of Dnipro, and at Chuhiuv, near Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s north, killing three. Kyiv’s defense has been successful in repulsing Russian attacks in eastern region of Luhansk, which has been “instrumental in reducing Russia’s momentum” on the ground, the UK Defense Ministry said.
Zelenskiy Vows to Retake Territory (10:33 p.m.)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine will gradually liberate the occupied areas of the country, the Ukrinform news portal reported.
“It is obvious that any missiles and artillery of Russia will not succeed in breaking our unity and knocking us off our path,” Zelenskiy said in an address on the anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of sovereignty from the then Soviet Union in 1990, according to Ukrinform.
EU’s Borrell Urges Patience on Sanctions (4:20 p.m.)
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said it “may take a long time” for sanctions on Russia to have an impact
“Even if sanctions do not change the Russian trajectory in the short-term, that does not mean they are useless, for they do affect sheer amount of resources it has to wage its war,” Borrell said in a blog post on the six packages of EU sanctions against Moscow.
Russia’s Shoigu Orders Combat Activity Intensfied (10:42 a.m.)
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered Russian military units to intensify their action across Ukraine, Interfax reported, a sign Moscow intends to step up its campaign.
Shoigu told Russian army generals in Ukraine “to further increase activity in all operational areas.” The rationale offered was to stop Kyiv launching “rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbas,” according to Interfax.
The ministry released a video of Shoigu, in fatigues, making just his second visit to the conflict zone. It was unclear when or where the visit took place.
Russian Assets Barely Touched Across EU (10 a.m.)
Germany, France, Ireland and three other European Union nations account for almost all of 13.9 billion euros in Russian assets that have been frozen in the 27-nation EU since the invasion of Ukraine, according to the bloc’s justice chief.
Read more: Russian Assets Barely Touched Across EU With $14 Billion Seized
Russia Viewed Iran’s Drone Capabilities, US Says (8:14 a.m.)
Satellite images show a Russian delegation visiting Iran to view weapons-capable drones that could be purchased for use in the war in Ukraine, a senior US official said Saturday.
The disclosure by the US is intended to bolster the assertion by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan — made without details of the underlying intelligence — that Russia was seeking to purchase hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles to help its campaign in Ukraine.
Russia Storing Missile Systems at Nuclear Plant, AFP Says (8 a.m.)
Kremlin troops are storing weaponry at, and launching attacks from, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an official with Kyiv’s nuclear agency.
“The occupiers bring their machinery there, including missile systems,” Petro Kotin, president of the Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom, said in a televised address on Friday, AFP reported.
Russian forces took control of the plant, Europe’s largest, in the early weeks of the war. The International Atomic Energy Agency hasn’t been able to inspect it since Feb. 24.
Zelenskiy Says Vinnytsia ‘Guilty’ to Be Identified (7:55 a.m.)
The identification of “all of those guilty in the attack” on Vinnytsia on Thursday has begun, Zelenskiy said Friday in his nightly address to the nation.
“Both at the national level and at the international level, we will do everything to make absolutely all Russian murderers responsible for what they have done,” he said.
Russia’s missile strike on the central Ukraine city left 23 dead, with four still in critical condition and four more unaccounted for.
Russia Escalating Civilian Attacks, Guardian Says(7:30 a.m.)
Moscow has has deliberately escalated airstrikes on civilian targets in recent weeks, a Ukrainian official told the Guardian.
“We have a system to monitor and track all airstrikes and other attacks in our country and what we have noticed recently is a tendency to destroy more and more civilian targets,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, told the UK newspaper.
Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on July 14, hundreds of miles from the Donbas front line, killing 23 people. Russia said its strike targeted “foreign weapons suppliers.”
Japan Will Aim to Keep Stake in Russia’s Sakhalin-2, Nikkei Says (2 a.m.)
Japan will seek to maintain its stake in the Sakhalin-2 natural gas project in Russia’s far east, the Nikkei newspaper said, after Putin signed a decree transferring rights to a new Russian company just over two weeks ago.
The decree gave stakeholders a month to say whether they’ll take a holding in the new company. The Japanese government has proposed to trading companies with stakes in the existing operator that they remain as shareholders after the transfer, the paper reported, without saying where it got the information.
Wheat Falls to Pre-War Low (10:45 p.m.)
Chicago wheat futures extended losses back to the lowest since before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, capping its worst week in a decade with surging shipments of agricultural goods in Crimea underscoring how grain is still entering world markets despite the war.
Futures slumped as much as 3.7%, briefly wiping out all of the gains from 2022, before trimming losses and settling 1.8% lower at $7.81 a bushel.
Ukraine Accuses US, European Banks Over Russia Links: FT (10:30 p.m.)
Ukraine told banks in the US and Europe to cut ties with groups that trade Russian oil, the Financial Times reported, citing letters it had seen.
Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president, wrote to top bank officials, including Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan and Noel Quinn of HSBC, asking them to stop financing firms that trade Russian oil and sell shares in state-backed companies Gazprom and Rosneft. Letters were also sent to Citigroup and Crédit Agricole.
The banks were accused of “prolonging” the war by giving credit to firms that ship Russian oil. They were also told they would be blocked from participating in post-war reconstruction in Ukraine, the report said.
US Backs Weapons Sales to Estonia, Norway (9:27 p.m.)
The US State Department said it supports the sale of $950 million worth of AIM-120 missiles to Norway and $500 million for HIMARS Rocket Systems to Estonia, both key NATO allies bordering Russia.
The sales will enhance the national security of the US, the department said in a statement. The principal contractors on the proposed sale are Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Missile Systems Co.
Multiple Launch Rocket System Arrives in Ukraine (6:41 p.m.)
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Twitter that the country received the first M270 MLRS intended to help hit targets further from the front lines.